Sunday, August 15, 2004

How Much Do You Really Need?

A peasant named Pahom worked hard and honestly for his family, but he owned no land. He heard a neighbor lady was going to sell her farm. Pahom and his wife decided to use their small savings to buy the land.
He loved his new property and became prosperous and joyful. One day a visitor came and told him about new land for sale beyond the Volga. Pahom now felt his little farm was too small. So he sold his small holding and bought a big plot. But even here he was not satisfied. He wanted to sow more wheat, so he rented extra land for three years.

Then one day he met a traveler from the land of the Bashkirs who had bought thirteen acres of land for only one thousand rubles. Pahom drooled at the thought. He again sold his property and moved with his family to the new land. The chiefs came out to see him. He asked about buying property. He was told: "As much as you can run round on your feet in a day will be yours. But if you don’t complete the circle you lose your money."

Pahom agreed and made plans for the run. With a shovel he would dig holes to mark the perimeter. He started out at sunrise. As the day progressed he widened the circle of land ever further, but he also grew hot and tired and then panicked. As the sun was disappearing, Pahom ran furiously back to the starting point, his heart hammering. He arrived back just in time and fell to the ground - dead. His servant picked up his shovel and dug a grave for Pahom. Six feet of land, from his head to his heels, was all he needed.

Leo Tolstoy

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